|28 February 2012|
Dirk Nowitzki has been so influential for the Dallas Mavericks and Germany's national team over the years that he could retire right now and go down as one of the all-time greats in the sport.
Last year, the veteran forward led the Mavs to their finest hour, a first NBA title for the organization.
Though he wasn't able to lead Germany into the Quarter-Finals of EuroBasket 2011, the 2.13m Nowitzki still averaged 19.5 points and 6.6 rebounds and remained one of the event's brightest stars.
|Dirk Nowitzki gave it all for Germany but coach Pesic knows he cannot play for ever|
The 33-year-old was recently named FIBA Europe Player of the Year.
Germany's future success on the court can no longer depend on Nowitzki.
New coach Svetislav Pesic, a legend in his own right, is making sure that everyone understands that.
"I believe that Nowitzki is not expecting my call," Pesic said. "He needs peace, a summer vacation.
"He has to think about his future. But, of course, we'll discuss what his plans are."
In each of the last three summers, the big question for Germany's national team dealt with Nowitzki and whether or not he would represent the country.
Nowitzki elected to stay away from the national team at EuroBasket 2009 and also skipped the 2010 World Championship, but he returned for Lithuania.
"Germany lived on Dirk's glory for long time," Pesic said. "Since the bronze in Indianapolis and silver at the EuroBasket in 2005, up to these days.
"Because of the magnitude of his personality and basketball qualities, many other players were just - other players.
"That wasn't bad, it was normal back in those days as Nowitzki is a true leader on the court. But I think that there is a new wave of players in Germany that can help to build new future."
Who are these young players?
Some, like Tibor Pleiss, Philip Zwiener, Tim Olbrecht and Elias Harris have already represented the national team.
Other up-and-comers include Johannes Lischka, Per Gunther, Niels Giffey, Maik Zirbes, Karsten Tadda, Mathias Monninghoff and Patrick Heckmann.